Sunday, 1 September 2013

Q21: How do you cope with change? (Gmail users, that's you!)

Important note for Gmail users: 

If you're one of the estimated 150-300 million Gmail users, did you know that Google is making global changes that may affect you? There's a new in-box system which may make it hard to see emails such as this one. But help is at hand! I've asked social media expert, Matt Heselden, for his tips on re-jigging your Google settings - See below.

But what if the change is much bigger than changed email settings? Suppose you suddenly lose your role in a team, or friends or family move away, or you unexpectedly fall in love? To meet any sort of change resourcefully, you must change too.

Elizabeth's tips for everyone:

The process of change is famously stressful for the (almost circular) reason that we don't like feelings of stress. Why is this, and what can we do about it?

1.  Pause and pause again

When change happens, we don't know at once how those changes will affect us. So our feelings take time to catch up. They form at the pace they need. But when we don't know what we're feeling (because our feelings aren't yet clear or settled enough), it's easy to panic or feel overwhelmed. The cure is to become genuinely fascinated in how even sad, spiky or unsettled feelings actually feel. When we truly 'feel a feeling', it starts to relax and dissolve, as if it's relieved to be seen and heard: 

  • Instead of:

          "OMG - help! WHAT's happening here?!!" 

  • Try:

        "Hello, how curious! My feelings are stirring (uncomfortably!). 
        What do they want me to know?"

2. Thank your feelings - even 'difficult' ones 

No feeling is essentially 'bad'. An immediate surge of irritation or dismay (or excitement if the change is nice) may not be the 'final word' from your feelings. Often, it's a first-alert message asking you to take stock, and protect your needs. So try not to get flustered and start criticising yourself (or others). Your feelings are asking you to slow down; to register something important.

  • Instead of:

        "Why do these things always happen to me?" OR "I shouldn't get so stressed!"

  • Try:

        "These feelings want to make sure I'm okay - that my needs will still be met."

3. Check out your needs

At root, feelings tell us that an event is either 'nice' or 'nasty'. Something in us (perhaps only one small aspect of ourselves) either likes what's happening - or it doesn't. Whether our feelings make up their minds instantaneously, or keep us awake at night, their wisdom is the same: they know when our needs are under threat, and they know when our needs are met. Feelings are there to protect us.

  • Instead of:

        "How come I'm so indecisive?" OR "I should be more positive!"

  • Try:

        Exploring the needs which you imagine may NOT be met by the changes. 
        Allow yourself to consider the WORST of it all! That's often what's underneath the worry.

For example, which needs would go missing for you if ...?

  • Unexpected jobs land on your plate (such as changing settings in Gmail)
    • Ease, relaxation, clarity, choice and consultation ...?
  • You suddenly lose a role you value because a new manager decides it's unnecessary
    • Empathy, recognition, purpose, security ...?
  • You unexpectedly fall in love!
    • Firm ground beneath your feet, certainty, your autonomy and freedom ...?

Although particular changes may be large or small, the needs that they address are always significant. Consider if there's anything you can do to sustain these needs and bring them to life in other ways. Sometimes your simple acknowledgement is enough. 

If you enjoy positive thinking, you might also try:

  • Listing all those needs which you imagine WILL be met, even by seemingly difficult changes.

The answers may be surprisingly reassuring. 

4. If none of this works - try laughing!

Somewhere inside us we all know: change is inevitable. If we forget this, change becomes a battleground between the way we wish things to be, and the way they actually are. The wider this gap is, the more we suffer when changes are afoot.

Yet, taking a step back, we may notice our human tendencies at work. We catch ourselves resisting the irresistible. Seeing this, we might even laugh affectionately at ourselves; at human nature itself. Love and laughter help to close the gap. Laughter is wise. It reminds us of what we deeply know, and takes away the (sometimes exhausting) effort to understand. 

By Elizabeth English
with Peter Kuklis 

Back to top.

***** ***** ***** 

Matt's tips for Gmail users:  

I'm  Matt, a freelance social media manager. Elizabeth has asked me for my tips on the changes in Google Mail.

If you're using Gmail, the chances are you'll have seen (or will soon see) changes to your Google inbox. These changes are helpful as Google now sorts your emails for you automatically, allowing you to focus on the emails you want to read - and to ignore those you don't. 


BUT this means that Elizabeth's newsletter may be classified as promotional and go into the Promotions inbox ('Promotions Tab') without you ever seeing it. 

So if you want to make sure you continue receiving her Life at Work bulletin (or other sign-ups you choose to receive), here are my tips:

1. Know what you want

Tell Google you want to read emails from a specific person or organisation and have it delivered to your main inbox - the 'Primary tab'. 

To do this:

  • Click on the 'Promotions tab' (this is one of five separate inboxes Google now gives you)
  • Drag Elizabeth's email into the 'Primary tab' (now all future Life at Work emails will show up there)
  • Do the same for any other newsletter or organisation you choose to hear from regularly

2. Like what you see

Now turn to Settings:

  • Turn off Tab sorting
  • Save your new settings
  • Switch back to the old inbox view

3. Tweeters! Logon to Twitter 

Elizabeth will tweet the moment her newsletter is published so you'll know when to expect it. 

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn

Back to top.

No comments:

Post a Comment